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Empire (In Her Name Book 4) (English Edition) Format Kindle
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Perfectly understandable for a non English fluent reader, which is already a good point ;-)
The story keeps moving, taking us further in the discovery of Aliens who want, through combat, to find their equals.
It's a real change compared to most SF books : we don't linger on vessels, the point that M. R. Hicks drives us to is the full discovery of a new culture. Space fights are of course here, but more as a mandatory SF part than for the sake of the story.
Through the main character, we finally come to live with these aliens, discover them from inside, take part in their life, ...
The fact that the series has other free books made me go through them as well. Only to find that the first one was just certainly the best.
I then decided that I would not risk reading the following books ... in fear of feeling deprived of the same pleasure and discovery I had when reading book 1.
The 3 books are easy to read, with lot of action, charismatic characters; the story line is complex enough to avoid being predictable.
Great plots and characters couldn't put it down.
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This is one of the hardest types of reviews for me to write. It's much easier to write a review of a "good, mediocre, or bad" book. It's not that I enjoy being so critical, just that it's easier to explain flaws than it is to explain why a book has achieved `greatness'. I can sit here and type all of the words: compelling, interesting, wonderful, intriguing, etc., but none of them do it justice. They don't really explain how a book speaks to the reader, how it draws the reader in and echoes in the mind long after it is finished.
This book grabs the reader with the opening scene and rarely relaxes its grip. With a wonderful mix of science fiction and fantasy, the plot is vastly different from most science fiction books I have read. Sure, you have your hero, your war, your deadly aliens. However, this story takes you in a different direction.
In the beginning, our hero is only seven years old and nobody special. He manages to meet the enemy up close and live to tell the tale. When we next see our hero, he is twelve and living the hard-knock life of an orphan that makes Little Orphan Annie look wealthy and happy. This section is intense and fraught with realistic danger.
Later, Reza must learn to live among the aliens who are attempting to obliterate his entire race. The reader is taken into the minds of the aliens, discovering that there is some humanity there. Reza's exploration of the Kreelan's society is fascinating. The reader is introduced to a marvel of the imagination with an intricately woven description of an alien lifestyle.
While this book is the first in a series, it is still a terrific stand-alone. Yes, it will make you want to read the next book, but you can be satisfied with this one.
Character Development: 5 Stars
Reza's character is not only believable, but fascinating. Even in his most outrageous moments, never do you feel that he has done something outside the scope of reality. His thoughts and feelings are so well related that you feel as if you are going through his life with him.
The other characters are also well developed. You feel his parents' grief and sense of hopelessness. You begin to somehow comprehend the aliens' mindset, even if unable to feel the same things.
Writing Style: 5 Stars
Mr. Hicks' writing is exquisite. It is fortunate that he has chosen this genre, for his imagination truly shines here. The sentence flow is excellent, building tension without ever letting the reader down. There is just enough foreshadowing to maintain interest without the reader feeling `dragged along'.
The dialogue is realistic and `easy on the ears'. No, I don't ever use audio books or text-to-speech; I am referring to the voices created in my mind by good dialogue. The descriptions are vivid and concise where needed.
Editing/Formatting: 5 Stars
Both were of professional quality.
Rating: R for Violence, Attempted Rape, and a couple of detailed (but tactful) Sex Scenes
It starts out slow. There's plenty of action first thing but none of it fits together in a way that pulls the reader into a greater story. Combined with unnerving switchbacks in point of view and no real sense of a main character, it's no surprise that I almost stopped reading without finishing the first chapter.
Fortunately, the appearance of the main character caught me. I was curious enough to continue reading. Even then, however, the pull of his character doesn't really set in until about the third chapter - a long time to hold on if you're an impatient reader.
The entire book is filled with jarring POV changes, unnecessary info dumps, and long scenes of narration instead of the action the reader so desperately wants. (I was also disappointed by the ending but that may be more a matter of taste than anything else.)
These are pet peeves of mine, enough to sink other books. But here, the author surprised me. The story itself is gripping. It makes you want to find out more.
If you plan to check it out yourself, I have two cautions: anyone with a strong inner editor may not be able to enjoy themselves and there are explicit, mature themes about halfway through the book that some readers may not feel are appropriate.
I got this series recommended by people at Kindleboards. Everyone spoke so wonderful of them that I figured out I had to try. I actually bought the whole Omnibus! 'Boy I'm glad I did!
This is truly a little wonder of a book! You just have to take a chance sometimes and this is one time that you get your reward for doing so. It's a page turner that holds its grip on you and don't let go - even when you are finished. But can I find words that do it justice? No, there is no words...
On a five-star scale, I'm giving this one four stars. It probably deserves five stars, but I'm snatching one back simply because there were parts of it that made me, personally, uncomfortable. If this were a literary review I would not do that, but this is me telling you how *I* felt about this book.
This is an exciting, well-crafted read. It embraces a number of genres as the story goes along, but I'd classify it primarily as Sci-Fi. The initial chapters are definitely Sci-fi as remnants of a defeated human population try desperately to fend off an alien invasion of their planet. Our protagonist is a boy caught in the devastation. The second scene is an orphanage planet established for youths like our protagonist who lost their families in the war. It is a harsh environment, an alien place run by petty bureaucrats that think nothing of exploiting the children in their care.
The next section steps out of standard Sci-Fi and into Fantasy as our protagonist is taken to live on a different planet, one where a warrior race trains to be warriors, and where everyone lives a medieval lifestyle even though they are a space faring race. There is even a scene where the heroes must outwit a dragon. I am not a big fan of fantasy and my enthusiasm cooled some as I got into this section, but the story is so well told and the characterization so strong that I kept on.
There is an element of the erotic/romance genre mixed in here that generated the uncomfortable feelings in my rather prudish conscience, but - again - though the scene was decidedly sexual, it was handled with enough tact I never reached the decision to lay the book aside. By today's "romance" standards it's probably pretty tame (I would not know for sure I don't read that stuff) but it was racier than I normally encounter in my reading.
I found nothing that impeded the flow of the story, no spelling or grammatical errors (I'm picky about these) no distracting word choices, no stilted language. It was a smooth, pleasant read and an exciting tale. There was one point in the story where the voice being used changed some, it became more literary or flowery and that did cause me to wonder what had happened, but it was not so discernible as to impede the story.
The story ended with a satisfactory conclusion that also leads the reader to want to buy the next book in the series, "Confederation" - which I have done and I look forward to getting started on it. If you're looking for a well-crafted story that will hold your interest as it steps neatly over standard genre boundaries and melds them into a single cohesive body of work, In Her Name: Empire is an excellent choice.
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